Amy Brendmoen Just Cost Saint Paul $800,000
Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 30, 2014
I knew Ms. Brendmoen was bad news even before she rode into office on a tidal wave of money from groups that aren’t known for backing liberal or progressive candidates.
But not even I ever dreamed that she and her boyfriend Mike Hahm would illegally force the eviction of a good long-term tenant, Black Bear Crossings, from the Lake Como Pavilion — and cost the city of Saint Paul $800,000 when the tenant proved to know his rights.
Here’s the Strib’s take on the affair:
St. Paul’s parks director and a City Council member knew that a Como Park food vendor had years left on its contract with the city before another vendor could take its place.
Yet, along with other city officials, they chose to challenge the contract anyway — touching off a messy legal dispute that ended with the city paying the vendor $800,000, a near-record legal settlement.
What parks and recreation director Mike Hahm and Council Member Amy Brendmoen knew about the city’s contract with Black Bear Crossings is shown in e-mails and other papers obtained under the state Data Practices Act.
The documents — thousands of pages of court records, letters and e-mails — don’t spell out exactly what caused city officials to stop encouraging co-owner David Glass’ plans to renovate the cafe, and to demand instead that he produce the business’ accounting records in what he interpreted as a move to intimidate him.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press fills in the details:
In legal filings, Glass said that city finance planner Tom Russell and Parks and Rec operations manager Gary Korum had been “effusive in their praise” when they’d asked him to renew his lease for 10 years in 2009. He said they called the five-year lease with a five-year option to renew “a de facto” 10-year agreement.
An Oct. 11 letter from Glass’ attorney to the city attorney’s office spells out repeated instances in 2011 and 2012 in which Glass says that city officials — including Hahm — asked Glass to take over concessions at either the Como Golf Course or the Phalen Banquet Hall. Each time, Glass said no.
Then, in April 2013, council member Brendmoen visited Black Bear.
In public statements last year, Glass said Brendmoen offended him by asking seemingly challenging questions about the coffee shop’s American Indian decor.
The following month, city officials began making repeated requests for the coffee shop’s financial records. Glass responded by hiring an attorney. The records were handed over in August 2013, but officials said the paperwork was unclear and incomplete.
Brendmoen and Hahm, the city’s parks director, are now dating, leading Glass’ supporters to criticize their role in the decision to terminate his lease five years early. At least one council member, Dan Bostrom, has called for Hahm’s resignation over the handling of the case.
David Glass is now running for Amy Brendmoen’s job as the City Council representative from Ward Five. He’s got my vote, that’s for sure.
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